Gainsborough News 25th June 1915



Farm servant and foundry labourer though he was before the war broke out, the letter Harry Lawson, a private in the Lincolns, sat down on the eve of battle scarce a week since, penned to his mother shows him to have been made of  the stuff heroes are made of. "Your loving son and soldier boy" he signed himself, and his parents' sorrow at his death may be tempered with the thought of having reared so brave a son. He was proud of the Lincolns, and the county may well be proud to number him among its sons who are so gloriously upholding the traditions of a famous Regiment.


It was on Tuesday, June 15th, that he wrote his mother. He says :-

"We have been resting and preparing for what I think will be the biggest thing of the war. but no doubt you will hear of it and us as well by the time you get this letter. I think every man is in good spirits and confident. We have been told what is expected of us. As you may recollect it is the anniversary of Waterloo to-morrow (Wednesday). It was a hundred years ago that the allies made an effort at Waterloo and finished of things in two days, and I hope we do the same. We go to-night to commence business at dawn, so by the time you get this letter a lot will have happened, and I hope I am still alive to tell the tale. But of course, we can't all expect to come out of this. It is to be a big a job. We have got orders that we are to stick to it and break through at any cost. But never mind, I don't care so long as we get through and make things better for somebody if we can't see the benefit of it. So dear mother and all I will close this letter, hoping to have the best of luck. Don't worry about me I shall have done my best, chosen which way it is. But I will write to you immediately all is over if I get through. But my blood is up this time. I don't seem to mind anything now so long as I am doing a bit. I feel fit for anything now and I am glad to feel that way. I think we are all about alike too. Don't write until you hear from me again. God bless you all until we meet again. From you loving son and soldier boy.  HARRY"

The day following he went unflinchingly to his death, and his last letter, as a striking instance of noble resolve on the part of a humble private, may fittingly be preserved in the records of a Regiment for whose fame and honour he was zealous. For in the same letter as the one quoted he wrote that no doubt his mother would have read in the papers about a certain Regiment in a recent engagement being smart. "Well, yes," he goes on, they were if you like, but I don't know why the Lincolns were missed out of it as that was the time we got it hot." He describes how the Lincolns supported this Regiment and in daylight occupied a trench under shell fire. The Lincolns A. and C. Companies (He was in C. Company) stormed and suffered, "we did too," and so on. In due course, no doubt, justice will be done the brave Lincolns for the part they have played in this war.

By the same post as Lawson's last letter came to his parents came also a letter from Lance-Corpl. Tinley conveying the sad news :- Dear Mrs Lawson, enclosed are two letters that came this morning for Harry. Being a friend I took care of them to send to you, as I am very sorry to say he was killed in the charge we made on the 16th. You must try and think that he died as any Englishman wants to die, that is facing the Germans and seeing them flying for their lives. I am writing this so you wont have to wait weeks before hearing of his death as I know that is the worst not knowing anybody's fate. Again assuring you of my deepest sympathy I beg to remain, yours faithfully,  T.W. TINLEY.

Harry Lawson was in his 24th year. When war broke out he was employed in Messrs. Marshall's new boiler shop, and previously had been in farm service at Misterton and Blyton Carr. He enlisted in August, and went to the Front with the Lincolns before Christmas, was wounded in the right hand on New Year's Day and returned home, was at the Front again on April 16th. He was born at Corringham and before going to Morton his parents lived in Gainsborough.

Gainsborough News 25th June 1915 contributed by Stephen Knox